Listen up guys – make the right call

The National Drowning Report recently released by Royal Life Saving Australia revealed that of the 248 people who drowned in Australia last year, 80% were male.
In a devastating start to the recent school holidays, a 17 year old boy on holiday from the Hunter Valley drowned on September 30th while swimming at the unpatrolled Diamond Beach on the NSW Mid North Coast. A number of bystanders tried to rescue the teenager but were unsuccessful, before police and paramedics pulled the teenager from the water and attempted to revive him.
Acting Inspector Atkinson said the waters at the beach were rough and made for dangerous swimming conditions saying “swimming at a non-patrolled beach is an unnecessary risk.” Six months earlier, a 38-year-old man drowned at the same beach.
The following day, another 17 year old boy tragically drowned when he jumped from a ledge at a swimming hole in Tahmoor, south west of Sydney and failed to resurface. Hours after divers arrived, the boy’s body was recovered by NSW search and rescue authorities.
Royal Life Saving chief executive Justin Scarr said too many lives were still being lost on the water. “Men taking risks and overestimating abilities continues to be our greatest challenge,” he said. “We urge men to look out for your mates while holidaying, camping and boating on rivers and lakes.”
According to the Royal Life Saving Society and Surf Life Saving Australia, men aged 25 to 34 were the most at risk, with the use of alcohol and drugs and absence of safety precautions a key factor.
Royal Life Saving’s Make the Right Call campaign encourages all Australians, especially males, to stay safe when enjoying Australia’s varied waterways. Risk-taking behaviour involving poor decision making, such as alcohol consumption, not wearing a lifejacket and swimming alone, can increase the risk of drowning, as can swimming in remote natural aquatic environments.
The campaign highlights a common sense approach to drowning prevention and advocates simple safety tips, including avoiding alcohol, never swimming alone and wearing a lifejacket. Lifejackets are the most important piece of safety equipment on any recreational vessel, and wearing a lifejacket can increase your chance of survival by 50% if you end up in the water.
Stay safer this Spring, it’s simply not worth taking any unnecessary risks around water – sadly, no one is invincible, especially in an aquatic environment. It’s a very Aussie attitude that “she’ll be right mate”, but we all need to respect the water and recognise the inherent danger water presents.